Facts, Arguments and Scholarly Quotes Tending to Cast Religion in a Negative Light

The blog Facts About Religion states as its mission that it “chronicles interesting facts and ideas that aid one in critically examining and understanding traditional and dogmatic forms of religious belief.”

Basically it’s an anti-religion blog, which would be more accurately titled “Facts Against Religion”, since it only posts facts tending to cast religion in a negative light. It’s there not so much to help you understand religion — which implies neutrality — as to help you doubt religion.

Even calling it Facts Against Religion is dubious, since most of the “facts” provided are either anti-religion arguments formulated by the blog author, or the quoted opinions of scholars or experts in one field or another.

In my experience, most blogs welcome dissenting voices and like to foster discussion. Not, apparently, Facts About Religion. My comments have been allowed on occasion, but usually they are summarily deleted without explanation. To be fair, I have rarely seen any posted comments at all, so it may be that he doesn’t like comments generally, and is not picking on pro-religion commenters in particular.

In any event, since I am not allowed to rebut his posts on his own blog, from now on when I have something to say in response to a post of his, I’ll say it here rather than there.

In response to the post “How Can You Be Perfectly Happy Knowing Your Loved Ones Are Being Tortured in Hell“, the blog author asks his readers to watch the video of the Jordanian pilot being burned to death by ISIS, and then consider whether we could be happy in Heaven, knowing that our loved ones were suffering like this pilot, eternally in Hell.

This is an excellent question, and I answered it this way, in a comment which was later deleted:

First, hell is not literally a place where people burn in flames. We don’t know exactly what happens to people in hell. We don’t know that they constantly experience the same level of physical pain which someone experiences who is burned by fire. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.”

As I understand it, our souls are immortal and therefore will live forever, and the choice between heaven and hell is the choice between the things which ultimately can make us happy, and the things which ultimately cannot make us happy, forever.

I think that whether we end up in heaven or in hell is our choice, and the people in heaven will look upon the people in hell as getting what they wanted. Cardinal Newman once wrote that people who don’t like church will not like heaven. This is because the primary purpose of both church and heaven is to adore God. If you don’t like adoring God, then you will not be happy in heaven, and will therefore go to hell. The people who do like adoring God will be happy because they get to do so forever. If you dragged the people in hell to heaven against their will, they would not be any happier than they would be in hell.

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3 thoughts on “Facts, Arguments and Scholarly Quotes Tending to Cast Religion in a Negative Light

  1. Pingback: Facts About Religion: Does God Have Free Will? | Agellius's Blog

  2. “If you don’t like Church, you won’t like Heaven,” strikes me as an admirable but extremely misleading sentiment.

    Most of the design of a Church service has to do with solving the problem of having sinful human beings stand in the presence of the All-Holy. This is complicated because when people talk to each other they might sin, when people eat they might sin, when people look at one another they might sin; so the bulk of the Church service consists of people staring straight ahead absorbed in the prayer; gestures of reverence are mandated so that even if a person does not themselves have a perfectly reverent attitude, they can at least symbolically participate in the reverence of the Church, rather than having the congregation embarrass itself before God; once the Eucharist is confected, insane degrees of precaution must be taken that there is no occasion for careless people to profane it and sin that way; and so forth. The proper attitude throughout the proceedings is fear and trembling, which might lead to a supernatural joy (but certainly not through mundane titillation or entertainment).

    If that is the exact analogy for Heaven, then it is a place where people’s attention is so consumed by God that they don’t have a chance to talk to one another. In between falling on their faces every so often to worship God, the four and twenty elders of Revelation are certainly never mentioned as leaving the throne room for tea and crumpets. (It is certainly inconceivable that tea and crumpets and casual conversation, could be conducted in a way that honours God just as well as falling on one’s face in worship. However, that is the actual test of holiness. If they want, anyone can control themselves in the presence of God to receive the Eucharist reverently, without blaspheming it. The question is whether they go home afterwards and have dinner with their family as if they have the real Presence of Christ and the Life that comes from that inside them — or if it’s no different than if they just swallowed some wafer — and then blaspheme the Eucharist that way.)

    In Hell people likewise do not talk to one another, we would assume, or if they do the conversations aren’t really worth it. Thus the human capacity for conversation (what atheist and believer alike would at least unambiguously agree to be a trait distinguishing us from animals) appears to actually be a temporary measure we developed because we are too sinful to talk to God properly.

    Obviously this is absurd. I protest against the idea of making Heaven out to be boring just because it sounds very pious to do so.


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